Sunday, August 07, 2005


One of the first posts I made here on the Garden concerned a dinner I enjoyed at the home of writer, Marilynne Robinson and her former husband, Fred. I gushed longingly over a blueberry pie Marilynne had made, a concoction as magical and evanescent as the evening itself. Then I confessed I had been searching for the recipe ever since--to no avail.

After posting my entry, the magic of the blueberry pie continued. I was contacted by writer, Susan Messer who swore she had the recipe for the pastry I'd described. Ever since the pie brought us together, Susan and I have shared a wonderful correspondence; we've exchanged insights over our novels in progress, the constant struggle to balance renumerative work with the work of our minds and hearts, and much more. She even did a couple of guest blogs for me over at I'M REALLY NOT A WAITRESS. Thus the magic of the pie was spread to the many readers who were engaged, amused, and inspired by her pieces.

Since it was the magnificent blueberry that brought us together, we planned to do something special in its honor. My yard was piled high with snow and Susan was braving the legendary Chicago winds when we first began dreaming of blueberry season. Thus, the scheme of baking a pie for our insatiable muses was born.

A few weeks ago, Susan sent me her recipe. It is very much like the one I remember except that Susan layers the whipped cream beneath the blueberries, and Marilynne's hand whipped cream was on top.
Susan made her pie last week; I'm scheduled to make mine on Tuesday. If anyone else would like to join us, please do! Why? Because it's August, because the literary muses are hungry, and because they're known to have a particularly affinity for the color blue.

The recipe follows:


A one crust pie shell (Use pate brisee if feeling ambitious or if you have a particularly demanding muse.)
3/4 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups blueberries, rinsed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup well chilled heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla

Roll out the dough. Line with foil and fill the foil with rice. Bake in the lower third of a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and rice and bake
10 - 15 minutes more. Cool on rack.

In saucepan combine 3/4 c. sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and 1 1/2 c. berries. Cook over moderate heat, stirring for 4 -5 minutes. until it is thickened. Remove the pan from heat, stir in butter and the remaining 2 1/2 c. blueberries. Let mix cool to room temperature. Chill for 15 minutes and stir gently.

Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks, add remaining 2 tsp. sugar and vanilla. Beat until it holds stiff peak. Spread whipped cream in pie shell with a spatula. top it with the blueberry mixture. Chll the pie for 1 -12 hours.

And oh yes, don't forget the most important ingredients of all: Eat it with good company and make sure you discuss something literary while you're enjoying your pie. Then sit back and wait for the magic. I expect a full report.


e_journeys said...

Sounds delectable -- and that photograph is simply luscious.

gulnaz said...

i love how your freindships have been baked so loving with this blueberry pie. :) its just wonderful.

rdl said...

What time is it coming out of the oven??

. said...

if i could find blueberries in portugal i would definetely try to bake it.

jose luis shakespeare

Patry Francis said...

e journeys: Nice to see you here. I am enjoying your site.

gulnaz: Baking friendship in a pie--what a wonderful way of putting it.

Irina and R.: feel free to stop by for pie--though it might be quite a trip for you, Irina.

Scot: let me know how your pie turns out.

Jose Luis: Maybe you could make another kind of pie. What do you think Portuguese muses favor?

And Susan! Yes, I'm making that pie today even though I'm exhausted and it's extremely humid and I have a million other more pressing matters. ..No I take that back. Today nothing is more pressing than paying homage to my overworked muse. Your husband's jingle says it all!

robin andrea said...

Patry-- Oh I showed up late again. I missed your birthday, and now I have missed the pie for the muse. I did bake three loaves of bread today, one more than usual (which is now on a UPS truck heading south-- a care package for my mom). I love rituals, especially when they elevate these kitchen arts to communion with the muse. Such a wonderful idea.
BTW-- I have loved Marilynne Robinson since I first read Housekeeping. How wonderful it must be to have had dinner with her. Her work is simply stunning.

Matthew said...

Thanks for your comments about my grandfather. Yes, lung cancer does seem to be popping up everywhere right now. Just last night I heard of another case close to home -- this time a neighbor of the house that I am sitting for the summer.

1000 black lines said...

Yummy, I can't wait to try this recipe at home and invite some company over for a literary dessert.

Anonymous said...

. . . my last day of internship is today . . . and tomorrow I shall bake a pie for my muse, and summon her forth from where she's been frolicking at the beach and getting her nails done and inspiring short essays about the intersection of god and tequila and pipelines to the evermore and cavorting about with men named Clive and Hans and Ken . . . and I shall invite her into my new apartment and ply her with pie and tell her the tales of my living since she went on sabbatical and we will laugh and maybe cry a little and then she will climb back down deep into my heart and mind and send out tendrils to my fingers and I shall commence, once more, to rework, one more time, that dang sweet novel. . .

I'll shall send forth pictures . . .

Zhoen said...

This morning, waking from difficult sleep, I thought about this post. And finally got the pun of your blog title.

I think it'll have to be pecan pie for me.